Beach Closing Brings More Political Interest
LAKE OZARK - High E. coli readings at the Lake of the Ozarks closed one beach this week and state leaders now want to meet and talk about it. State Republicans criticized Democratic Governor Jay Nixon last year for how DNR handled high E. coli levels at the lake, so Nixon changed DNR rules to inspect the water and report results more frequently than before.
Lake leaders say the more frequent reports make the public believe the lake is dirtier than it really is. DNR tested the water at Public Beach No. 1 on Monday. The levels showed to be 435.2, two times more than the standard for a single sample. But DNR says this is no reason to be concerned.
“Because it’s a natural waterway, it’s a lake. All of our beaches are on lakes, you expect on occasion to have some issues. So, until there’s a trend we don’t necessarily launch a full investigation as to where or how,” DNR’s Division Information Officer Larry Archer said. “We wait to see if it is coming back down or if it’s staying high. If it’s staying high, then we start investigating sources.”
But DNR's lack of concern isn't keeping politicians from wading back into the E. coli controversy. Next week, Attorney General Chris Koster will hold a symposium to look at water quality issues at the Lake.
Missouri Deputy Attorney General Joe Danduran said, “What we hope to do with this symposium is to have the experts let us know what the sources of the potential contaminants are. We want to know the effect of the readings is. Why the decisions are made to close a particular beach one day and open it back up another.”
The DNR closed three other beaches at Mark Twain State Park due to high water, and one other at Wakonda State Park.
The DNR will test the waters again on August 16.
The symposium will take place on August 17 until August 18 at the Tan-Tar-A Resort at the lake.